After a report from the New York Daily News earlier Saturday suggested that Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and director of pitching Chris Holt were being scrutinized in a potential case of pension impropriety, Major League Baseball vehemently denied any wrongdoing on the Orioles' part.
The apparent issue stemmed from Holt being among the permitted maximum of four coaches that Elias designated for a pension plan that is part of the joint agreement between MLB owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Holt is not an official uniformed member of the Orioles' major league coaching staff, but in a statement, MLB said the Orioles' designation of Holt was approved beforehand.
“Major League Baseball is completely comfortable with the Orioles' coaching designations for the 2020 season, which are not only consistent with the terms of the pension plan but were approved in advance by MLB and shared prior to the start of the season with representatives from the Major League Baseball Players Association," MLB said.
"The suggestion that there is an ongoing investigation that could result in discipline is simply false.”
The Orioles directed a request for comment to MLB, while an MLBPA representative declined to comment.
As director of pitching, Holt was intended to serve in a hybrid role working with the Orioles' pitchers in the majors and throughout the minors, but the coronavirus pandemic hampered his ability to do so, leaving Holt to do the majority of his work at the team’s alternate training site in Bowie.
Shortly after becoming the Orioles' GM in November 2018 after a long tenure in the Houston Astros' front office, Elias hired Holt away from Houston to be Baltimore’s minor league pitching coordinator. In Holt’s first and only year in that role, many of the Orioles' minor league affiliates led their respective leagues in strikeouts while numerous individual pitchers took leaps forward.
The other three Orioles coaches included on the pension plan, according to the Daily News, were major league field coordinator Tim Cossins, hitting coach Don Long and third base coach José Flores. Last month, Flores and pitching coach Doug Brocail were informed they won’t return for the 2021 season. Holt is a potential candidate to replace Brocail as pitching coach.
In addition to medical benefits and life insurance, inclusion on the pension plan includes a players' licensing check from the sale of paraphernalia and merchandise and baseball cards, generally ranging from $40,000-$60,000, according to the Daily News.
Latest Baltimore Orioles
This past offseason, Elias and Holt’s former organization, the Astros, was found to have cheated during its run to the 2017 World Series title by using a video relay system to steal opposing teams' signs. Elias, Holt and Orioles assistant general manager Sig Mejdal, also a former Houston employee, were not implicated in the scandal.